Safety Instructor 

Richard Lightfoot

Rich’s journey into the trades started 20 years ago working as a welder in a nonunion shop. Frustrated with the lack of a raise, a suggestion led him to join the sheet metal union the next day.

Fourteen years into the trade Rich decided to go into teaching with a specialty in safety after being injured on the job. His goal as the new safety instructor for the Sheet Metal JATC San Diego was to make sure no other union member suffered an injury because they didn’t know how to be safe. By working in the trade, members witnessed not just his ability to teach safety, but also his commitment to working safely. For Rich, the most gratifying aspect of being a safety instructor lies in the awareness that his guidance has the potential to save lives.

Rich has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Mortuary Science. He completed his 5-year sheet metal apprenticeship in 2011 at Local 359 where he graduated at the top of his class. He has an OSHA instructors’ certificate and is a certified CPR/First- Aid trainer. He is certified to teach safety in the following areas: construction, forklift, hoisting and rigging, signaling, and scaffolding.

To Rich, the most satisfying aspect of being in this trade is knowing that he has contributed to building something from which people can benefit. His experience has varied over the years, from building ducts in the shop to installing them in the field. Rich worked in architectural and industrial sheet metal. He has worked for multiple companies over the years including A.O. Reed, University Mechanical, Control Air Conditioning, and Acco Engineering.

The most memorable project Rich worked on was working at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. He was able to use sheet metal skills including welding, planning, and layout.

When Rich is not working, he enjoys the ocean, swimming, boating, bowling, reading and studying the Bible. Most of all he enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife of 14 years.

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